You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
At least 40,000 years old
The world’s oldest figurative painting was found in a cave in Borneo. It depicts a beast — “probably a species of wild cattle” — and is at least 40,000 years old. The researchers working on the painting believe that such art began between 40,000 and 52,000 years ago in a first phase that focused on large animals. That lasted until 20,000 years ago when a second phase began to focus on humans. My favorite painting, for what it’s worth, happens to be of a large animal and some humans. [The Guardian]
545 lost homes
Wells Fargo admitted that 545 of its customers lost their homes thanks to “an internal underwriting error” in its software. The errors caused some customers to be incorrectly denied mortgage changes. Over the summer, the company previously said that 400 of its customers had their homes foreclosed on thanks to the error. I still forever hold out hope for a Monopoly-esque bank error in my favor. $200! [Reuters]
Nearly 60 percent of California voters
California’s Proposition 7 passed on Tuesday with nearly 60 percent of the vote. The proposition could leave the state in daylight savings time all year — but for that to happen, it still requires the vote of two-thirds of the state’s legislature and the approval of Congress. Anyway here’s my feeling: I would happily “lose an hour” to gain many hours of sunlight in the evening. I would happily do this many times a year. I would happily do that right this moment. The myopia of the 21st century is best expressed in the form of those who whine about “losing an hour.” Sunshine, people. Sunshine. [Vox]
Reckless and rueful messengers of the world rejoice: With a new feature coming to Facebook Messenger, you’ll be able to “unsend” unread messages for up to 10 minutes after you clicked the button. The feature was previously reserved for Facebook’s internal elite — in April, the company was reported to have deleted messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg and other executives from recipients’ inboxes. [Engadget]
This is some … actual good news, I think? A United Nations report contends that the hole in the ozone layer could, if all goes well, be fixed by the 2060s. An international treaty to ban ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons is apparently to thank. [Earther]
Ford, the car company, bought Spin, the electric scooter company, for $40 million. Fun and sort of unrelated fact: There used to be a version of Chevy’s Chevette called the Scooter. It had 52 horsepower and it’s awesome. [The Verge]
Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.
If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.